July 10, 2022 – Joshua 13 – 21

Lesson Date: July 10, 2022

Focal Scripture Passage: Joshua 13:1-14; 14:1-13; 15:63; 16:10; 17:13; 18:1; 21:43-45

AIM: To lead students to discover what we must do to claim the things God has promised us, and to confess their sins of disobedience toward God and commit themselves to following Him wholeheartedly.

 

Before class: Read the notes on Joshua 13 – 21 found in the Sunday School Teacher Book.  Write the words “Inheritance” and “Promise” on the marker board or chalkboard.  Enlist some volunteers to look up the following verses and be prepared to read them to the class: John 14:27; Romans 2:4; Romans 8:14-16; 2 Peter 1:3; 2 Peter 1:4; 1 John 1:9.  Optional: Create an artificial “will” to use as a visual aid by printing the words “Last Will and Testament” in fancy script on a piece of paper and then stapling other sheets behind it.

 

INTRODUCTION (Create Learning Readiness): Direct the students’ attention to the word “Inheritance” written on the board (and hold up your artificial “will” if you made one).  Ask: “Have any of you every received an inheritance from someone?”  Ask: “What are some things people inherit from their parents or other loved ones?” (cash, property, jewelry, family heirlooms, or a favorite piece of furniture).  Tell the class some inheritances are very valuable, while others hold more sentimental value than monetary value.

Direct the students’ attention to the word “Promise” written on the board.  Tell them an inheritance is something like a promise, in that the one giving the inheritance makes a promise that you will receive it.  Ask: “Has any loved one ever promised that you would receive something when they died?”  Such a promise may be informal, or it may be written into a legally recognized will (hold up your “will” again).

– OR –

Tell the following story:

Samuel deeply loved his uncle Norman.  He was very faithful to Norman, visiting him often and seeking to meet his needs.  In time, Norman died.  When Norman’s will was read, Samuel learned that he was the heir to his uncle’s estate.  Because of his faithfulness and love for his uncle, Samuel was given a valuable inheritance.

Regardless of which of the two procedures you use, ask: “What must an heir do to claim his or her inheritance?” (the will must be legally probated, the heir must present identification to prove he or she is the person named in the will, and they must take possession of the inheritance).  Tell the class that just as there are certain things an heir must do to claim his or her inheritance, the children of Israel had some things to do to claim the inheritance God promised them.

Tell the students today’s lesson covers portions of Joshua 13 – 21.  The title of the lesson is Claiming Your Inheritance.

 

HEART OF THE LESSON (Bible Study):

  1. Review.
    • Briefly remind the class of the things they have studied in the book of Joshua up to this point:
      • Chapters 1 – 2: The requirements for successful living.
      • Chapters 3 – 5: God placed requirements on the Israelites for receiving His blessings, and told them to do certain things in response to those blessings.
      • Chapters 6 – 9: Obedience brings victory, but disobedience results in defeat, death, and humiliation.
    • Ask: “What was last week’s lesson about?” (the only way to have victory in life’s battles is to obey God fully).
  2. Unclaimed Inheritance.
    • Remind the class that the Israelites had subdued their enemies, but they had not yet settled into their new land.
    • Ask a volunteer to read Joshua 13:1.
    • Ask: “What did God tell Joshua about his physical condition and about the land?” (He said Joshua was old and there was still a lot of land to be possessed).
    • Tell the class that much of their inheritance had not yet been claimed.
    • Explain the following:
      • Joshua 13:2-7 describes the unconquered land that was to be divided among the 9½ western tribes.
      • Use the Map of the Promised Land to point out their territory between the Jordan River and the Mediterranean Sea.
      • Joshua 13:8-13 reminds us that 2½ tribes wanted to settle on the east side of the Jordan.
      • Point out their territory on the Map of the Promised Land.
      • Those 2½ tribes would receive no inheritance in Canaan.
    • Ask a volunteer to read Joshua 13:14.
    • Ask: “Since the Levites served in the Tabernacle, they were not to receive any land as an inheritance. What was their inheritance?” (the sacrifices the people brought to God).
    • Explain that as we learned in the book of Leviticus, some of those offerings were to be completely burned up on the altar, but for many other offerings only a portion was burned on the altar; the rest was used to feed the priests and Levites.
    • Summarize: Even though the Israelites conquered the Promised Land, there was still much territory that had not yet been claimed.
  3. Caleb’s Request.
    • Read Joshua 14:1-3.
    • Tell the students that Joshua divided the land among the tribes by lot.
    • Ask a volunteer to read Joshua 14:5.
    • Ask: “Whose instructions were the Israelites still following?” (those given by Moses).
    • Read Joshua 14:6-8.
    • Ask: “What happened at Kadesh-Barnea?” (Moses sent 12 spies into the Promised Land; all of the spies but Joshua and Caleb brought back discouraging and fearful reports, causing the Israelites to turn back and disobey God; this resulted in them wandering in the wilderness for 39 more years).
    • Ask: “According to verse 8, how did Caleb follow God?” (wholly, completely).
    • Read Joshua 14:9-13.
    • Explain that because of Caleb’s great faith, Moses promised he would be given the portion of the land he had spied out ( 1:36).
    • Ask: “How old was Caleb at this time?” (85).
    • Explain that a total of 45 years had elapsed since the incident at Kadesh Barnea: 39 years in the wilderness and 6 years conquering the Promised Land.
    • Ask: “What was Caleb’s physical condition at 85 years of age?” (as strong and capable of going to war as he was at age 40).
    • Ask: “What was the physical condition of the rest of the spies Moses sent into the Promised Land at Kadesh Barnea?” (dead; they all died in the wilderness because of their disobedience).
    • Ask: “According to verse 12, what did Caleb say would determine whether he could drive out the people that lived in the area?” (if the Lord was with him)
    • Tell the class Joshua 15:14 reveals that Caleb was successful.
    • Summarize: Following Moses’ instructions, Joshua divided the Promised Land among the tribes and gave Caleb the portion of land Moses promised to him.
  4. Incomplete Obedience.
    • Explain the following:
      • Chapters 15, 16, and 17 describe the land given to the tribes of Judah, Ephraim, and the western half of Manasseh.
      • All this land was west of the Jordan River.
      • These chapters also reveal a problem.
    • Read Joshua 15:63.
    • Ask: “What did the men of Judah fail to do?” (drive the Jebusites out of Jerusalem).
    • Read Joshua 16:10.
    • Ask: “What did the men of Ephraim fail to do?” (drive the Canaanites out of their land).
    • Read Joshua 17:13.
    • Ask: “What did the Israelites fail to do?” (drive out the Canaanites).
    • Ask: “Did the Israelites fully obey God’s command to drive out and kill all the inhabitants of the land?” (no).
    • Stress the fact that incomplete obedience is actually disobedience.
    • Summarize: The Israelites conquered all the Promised Land, but they compromised and failed to obey God in driving out all the people.
  5. God Kept His Promises.
    • Ask a volunteer to read Joshua 18:1.
    • Explain the following:
      • The Israelites set up the Tabernacle at Shiloh (locate on the Map of the Promised Land).
      • This was a more centralized location than their previous camp at Gilgal (locate on the Map of the Promised Land).
      • Israel’s portable worship facility finally had a permanent home, just as God had promised.
      • The rest of the chapters in this week’s lesson describe the specific territory given to each tribe, the provision of cities of refuge, and cities in which the Levites could live.
    • Ask a volunteer to read Joshua 21:43-45.
    • Ask: “What did the Lord give Israel?” (all the land He had promised to their fathers).
    • Ask: “What else did He give them?” (rest and victory over all their enemies).
    • Ask: “How many of God’s promises came to pass?” (all of them).
    • Summarize: God kept all His promises to the Israelites, settling them in their new land, establishing a central place of worship, and giving them rest from warfare.

 

PERSONAL APPLICATION: Remind the class that God promised an inheritance to the Israelites.  He initially promised it to Abraham, but He repeated His promises to the Israelites many times over the next several hundred years.  The generation of Israelites living during Joshua’s time could see the promised inheritance, but they still had to go and claim it.  Tell the students the Israelites had to do two main things to claim the inheritance God promised them: they had to believe God and they had to obey His commands.

Tell the class God has promised His children many things.  Ask the previously enlisted volunteers to read the following verses:

  • John 14:27 – Peace
  • Romans 2:4 – Repentance
  • 1 John 1:9 – Forgiveness
  • Romans 8:14-16 – Sonship
  • 2 Peter 1:3 – Everything we need to live right
  • 2 Peter 1:4 – Freedom from the corruption of the world

Tell the students these are just a few of the things God has promised His children.  The Israelites could only claim their promised inheritance by believing and obeying God.  The only way we can “claim” the things God has promised us is to obey Him and believe what He says in the Bible.  Some people think we can claim any blessing if we have enough faith; the problem with this false teaching is that God never explicitly promised to give us those things.

Tell the students the things God has promised in His Word (such as those listed above) are available to everyone who belongs to Jesus Christ.  To enjoy the things God has promised us, we must confess and repent of our sins of disobedience and make a commitment to obey and follow God wholeheartedly.  Tell the students if any of them are not saved, they are not eligible for any of those blessings.  God did promise, however, to save anyone who sincerely calls upon Him in faith (Rom. 10:13).

Encourage any who are not saved to trust Jesus right now.  Encourage those who are saved to confess their sins and make a commitment to follow Him wholeheartedly.  Lead a closing prayer.

 

CONCLUSION: Ask everyone to memorize Joshua 21:45.  Encourage them to tell someone this week about what God is doing in their life.

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